Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton has tested positive for COVID-19, coach Mike Budenholzer revealed before Tuesday night’s 117-89 win against the Detroit Pistons.
Middleton missed Sunday’s game against the Utah Jazz with what the team initially believed to be a non-COVID illness before enforcing NBA health and safety protocols ahead of Tuesday’s game.
“We thought he just had a cold or some sort of non-COVID illness,” Budenholzer said. “And then, [he] I didn’t feel well the next day. Tested and came back positive.”
Middleton joins 76ers forward Tobias Harris and Cavaliers forward Kevin Love as NBA players who have all tested positive for COVID-19 since early this week.
A player who tests positive must be out for a minimum of 10 days, which could potentially put Middleton out for the next six games through next Friday’s game on the road against the Boston Celtics.
Middleton’s absence is the final blow to an already depleted Bucks roster. Going into Tuesday’s game, only seven players had appeared in all seven of the team’s games, including two-sided guard Justin Robinson. Milwaukee had already missed two starters — Jrue Holiday (left ankle sprain) and Brook Lopez (back pain) — from opening night. Donte Divincenzo, their initial shooting guard, has not played since he injured his left ankle during the playoffs last year.
Holiday is on track to be the first of the group to return. He recently returned to training, but after a shortened season after the NBA Finals and playing for Team USA in the Olympics, the team will be cautious about returning from injury.
“We’ve been very, very lucky. It feels like my three years here in Milwaukee have been very, very healthy,” said Budenholzer. “Yeah, it’s a challenge to figure out who’s available, to get the best groups and how to get through a game. And not really exhaust the guys who are healthy.”